We just put up a story telling about the miraculous properties of green tea: it helps prevent both cancer and Alzheimer’s. Coffee also provides more than just a morning jolt; it is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet.

“Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close,” says chemist Joe Vinson. Although fruits and vegetables are generally promoted as good sources of antioxidants, the new finding is surprising because it represents the first time that coffee has been shown to be the primary source from which most Americans get their antioxidants. You don’t have to worry about insomnia: both caffeinated and decaf do the job equally well.

Antioxidants have been linked to a number of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer. Coffee has been linked to an increasing number of potential health benefits, including protection against liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson?s disease. Vinson analyzed the antioxidant content of more than 100 different food items, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, oils and common beverages. Coffee came out on top, on the combined basis of both antioxidants per serving size and frequency of consumption. It outranked such popular antioxidant sources as tea, milk, chocolate and cranberries. Of all the foods and beverages studied, dates actually have the most antioxidants of all based solely on serving size, but they aren’t consumed, in the US anyway, at anywhere near the level of coffee.

To get the benefits of coffee, you only need to drink one to two cups a day. If you don’t like coffee, drink black tea, which is the second most consumed antioxidant source in the US diet. Bananas, dry beans and corn placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively. And don’t forget about fresh fruits and veggies: cranberries and red grapes are among the top fruits for antioxidants on the basis of concentration. Basically, you should choose dark or brightly-colored foods, since they’re always better for you.

Art credit: Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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